Having been out of town the last few weekends, I’m only just now hearing the tragic news of this year’s Fire Island Pines Party, during which 16 partygoers overdosed on GHB. And August 18th, a 31 year-old man died of a GHB overdose in his Pines rental home, allegedly after his physician roommate recommended he be allowed to “sleep it off”.
Calling the number of overdoses “unprecedented“, Dr. Ed Schulhafer of the Pines Care Center, said, ” [T]here is a strong likelihood that the GHB being distributed in the community is particularly toxic and dangerous. We circulate this information to encourage all Pines and Grove residents to stay away from any GHB. Of course it is better not to take any illegal drugs as there are no known ways to reverse their side effects. But all the overdoses we have seen in the last four weeks have included GHB.”
You may recall that the famous Fire Island Morning Party, a huge annual fund-raiser for Gay Men’s Health Crisis for 16 years, was cancelled in 1999 after a GHB-related death forced GMHC to withdraw their involvement. I imagine that the Pines Party may go the same way.
Just seven weeks ago, leaving the Pier Dance, my friends and I all marveled that we’d seen no overdoses, something that had been an all-too common sight at circuit parties in years past. It seemed to us at the time that gay men were finally dropping GHB from their party menu, but since none of us attend these events more than once or twice a year, we were only hopeful. I guess we have our answer.